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Will This Patient Be Difficult to Intubate?: The Rational Clinical Examination Systematic Review.
JAMA. 2019 Feb 05; 321(5):493-503.JAMA

Abstract

Importance

Recognizing patients in whom endotracheal intubation is likely to be difficult can help alert physicians to the need for assistance from a clinician with airway training and having advanced airway management equipment available.

Objective

To identify risk factors and physical findings that predict difficult intubation.

Data Sources

The databases of MEDLINE and EMBASE were searched from 1946 to June 2018 and from 1947 to June 2018, respectively, and the reference lists from the retrieved articles and previous reviews were searched for additional studies.

Study Selection

Sixty-two studies with high (level 1-3) methodological quality that evaluated the accuracy of clinical findings for identifying difficult intubation were reviewed.

Data Extraction and Synthesis

Two authors independently abstracted data. Bivariate random-effects meta-analyses were used to calculate summary positive likelihood ratios across studies or univariate random-effects models when bivariate models failed to converge.

Results

Among the 62 high-quality studies involving 33 559 patients, 10% (95% CI, 8.2%-12%) of patients were difficult to intubate. The physical examination findings that best predicted a difficult intubation included a grade of class 3 on the upper lip bite test (lower incisors cannot extend to reach the upper lip; positive likelihood ratio, 14 [95% CI, 8.9-22]; specificity, 0.96 [95% CI, 0.93-0.97]), shorter hyomental distance (range of <3-5.5 cm; positive likelihood ratio, 6.4 [95% CI, 4.1-10]; specificity, 0.97 [95% CI, 0.94-0.98]), retrognathia (mandible measuring <9 cm from the angle of the jaw to the tip of the chin or subjectively short; positive likelihood ratio, 6.0 [95% CI, 3.1-11]; specificity, 0.98 [95% CI, 0.90-1.0]), and a combination of physical findings based on the Wilson score (positive likelihood ratio, 9.1 [95% CI, 5.1-16]; specificity, 0.95 [95% CI, 0.90-0.98]). The widely used modified Mallampati score (≥3) had a positive likelihood ratio of 4.1 (95% CI, 3.0-5.6; specificity, 0.87 [95% CI, 0.81-0.91]).

Conclusions and Relevance

Although several simple clinical findings are useful for predicting a higher likelihood of difficult endotracheal intubation, no clinical finding reliably excludes a difficult intubation. An abnormal upper lip bite test, which is easily assessed by clinicians, raises the probability of difficult intubation from 10% to greater than 60% for the average-risk patient.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Medicine, Sinai Health System, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Interdepartmental Division of Critical Care Medicine and Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.Institute for Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Department of Anesthesia, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.Interdepartmental Division of Critical Care Medicine and Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Institute for Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Department of Critical Care Medicine, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.Interdepartmental Division of Critical Care Medicine and Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Departments of Critical Care Medicine and Medicine, St Michael's Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St Michael's Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.Department of Critical Care Medicine, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.Department of Medicine, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina. Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina.Institute for Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Department of Anesthesia, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St Michael's Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Department of Anesthesia and Pain Management, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.Interdepartmental Division of Critical Care Medicine and Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Institute for Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Department of Critical Care Medicine, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Meta-Analysis
Systematic Review

Language

eng

PubMed ID

30721300

Citation

Detsky, Michael E., et al. "Will This Patient Be Difficult to Intubate?: the Rational Clinical Examination Systematic Review." JAMA, vol. 321, no. 5, 2019, pp. 493-503.
Detsky ME, Jivraj N, Adhikari NK, et al. Will This Patient Be Difficult to Intubate?: The Rational Clinical Examination Systematic Review. JAMA. 2019;321(5):493-503.
Detsky, M. E., Jivraj, N., Adhikari, N. K., Friedrich, J. O., Pinto, R., Simel, D. L., Wijeysundera, D. N., & Scales, D. C. (2019). Will This Patient Be Difficult to Intubate?: The Rational Clinical Examination Systematic Review. JAMA, 321(5), 493-503. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2018.21413
Detsky ME, et al. Will This Patient Be Difficult to Intubate?: the Rational Clinical Examination Systematic Review. JAMA. 2019 Feb 5;321(5):493-503. PubMed PMID: 30721300.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Will This Patient Be Difficult to Intubate?: The Rational Clinical Examination Systematic Review. AU - Detsky,Michael E, AU - Jivraj,Naheed, AU - Adhikari,Neill K, AU - Friedrich,Jan O, AU - Pinto,Ruxandra, AU - Simel,David L, AU - Wijeysundera,Duminda N, AU - Scales,Damon C, PY - 2019/2/6/entrez PY - 2019/2/6/pubmed PY - 2019/2/23/medline SP - 493 EP - 503 JF - JAMA JO - JAMA VL - 321 IS - 5 N2 - Importance: Recognizing patients in whom endotracheal intubation is likely to be difficult can help alert physicians to the need for assistance from a clinician with airway training and having advanced airway management equipment available. Objective: To identify risk factors and physical findings that predict difficult intubation. Data Sources: The databases of MEDLINE and EMBASE were searched from 1946 to June 2018 and from 1947 to June 2018, respectively, and the reference lists from the retrieved articles and previous reviews were searched for additional studies. Study Selection: Sixty-two studies with high (level 1-3) methodological quality that evaluated the accuracy of clinical findings for identifying difficult intubation were reviewed. Data Extraction and Synthesis: Two authors independently abstracted data. Bivariate random-effects meta-analyses were used to calculate summary positive likelihood ratios across studies or univariate random-effects models when bivariate models failed to converge. Results: Among the 62 high-quality studies involving 33 559 patients, 10% (95% CI, 8.2%-12%) of patients were difficult to intubate. The physical examination findings that best predicted a difficult intubation included a grade of class 3 on the upper lip bite test (lower incisors cannot extend to reach the upper lip; positive likelihood ratio, 14 [95% CI, 8.9-22]; specificity, 0.96 [95% CI, 0.93-0.97]), shorter hyomental distance (range of <3-5.5 cm; positive likelihood ratio, 6.4 [95% CI, 4.1-10]; specificity, 0.97 [95% CI, 0.94-0.98]), retrognathia (mandible measuring <9 cm from the angle of the jaw to the tip of the chin or subjectively short; positive likelihood ratio, 6.0 [95% CI, 3.1-11]; specificity, 0.98 [95% CI, 0.90-1.0]), and a combination of physical findings based on the Wilson score (positive likelihood ratio, 9.1 [95% CI, 5.1-16]; specificity, 0.95 [95% CI, 0.90-0.98]). The widely used modified Mallampati score (≥3) had a positive likelihood ratio of 4.1 (95% CI, 3.0-5.6; specificity, 0.87 [95% CI, 0.81-0.91]). Conclusions and Relevance: Although several simple clinical findings are useful for predicting a higher likelihood of difficult endotracheal intubation, no clinical finding reliably excludes a difficult intubation. An abnormal upper lip bite test, which is easily assessed by clinicians, raises the probability of difficult intubation from 10% to greater than 60% for the average-risk patient. SN - 1538-3598 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/30721300/full_citation L2 - https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/10.1001/jama.2018.21413 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -